One in six empty

Scotland only part of GB to see rise in empty shops

Shop-vacancies-on-Princes-Street

Empty shops in Princes Street, Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland was the only part of Great Britain where more shops were empty in the last quarter compared with the previous three months.

New data shows that one in six retail premises is now vacant – a six-year high – or 16.4% from 16.1% in Q2.

Across the rest of Britain the vacancy rate has flattened with the overall GB vacancy rate remaining at 14.5%, the same level as Q2.

The overall figures are held up by retailers moving out of the high street to retail parks where they can better support online customers.

The worsening Scottish figures have prompted new calls from the Scottish Retail Consortium for the Holyrood government to take decisive action.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: “Scotland’s shop vacancy rate has risen by a fifth this past year and remains above the UK average rate, and it’s far from certain that it has crested.

“This is a vivid reminder of the heavy economic toll of the pandemic and of repeated lockdowns and restrictions.

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